Grasshopper no 3, Summer '94
The 4th International "Carpathian Bridge" Meeting was held in Palota near Medzilaborce, Eastern Slovakia, on June 22 - 26, 1994. The participants -- representatives of Slovakian, Polish, and Ukrainian NGOs -- discussed topics related to the transport system of the region and possible alternatives.
The "Carpathian Bridge" is an international initiative welfare network that focuses on creating permanent human, neighborly, economic, and cultural links concerning particularly environmental protection of the Carpathians.
After getting acquainted with the environs, collecting written materials, and talking with officials representing the local administration, all gathered participants were convinced that the reconstruction of the railways in the region has good points. A regenerated railway transport system would connect three countries -- Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine -- and would enhance tourism activity in the borderlands. The railway may be considered an environmentally friendly means of transport because its impact on the environment is the least destructive. The natural beauty along the railway track could attract many potential tourists. This concept is consistent with "The Trans-Carpathian Touring Footpath" proposal prepared in Poland. In view of the facts mentioned above, the participants in the meeting made an appeal to the governments of three bordering countries and to the local administrations to reconstruct the forgotten but 120-year-old railway between Medzilaborce, Slovakia, and Nowy Łupków, Poland. The line will make profit not only in terms of money.
We, the participants of the International Carpathian Bridge Meeting, ask all institutions and individuals who are interested in the aims of our welfare network to join us and to cooperate in helping to create a sustainable economic development of the Carpathians that will protect the ecological stability of the land.
* In regard to a report obtained from the Slovak Ministry of Transport, there is concern that the idea of building a new transit road to Poland is being considered; however, up till now there has not been any agreement concerning the matter (Look at the typescript of the 4th I.C.B.M., p. 1).
* The Slovakian participants at the meeting proposed the establishment of a database system announcing all activities within the Carpathian Bridge Network. Topical groups will help in keeping permanent contact without (and this is important!) coordinators.
* According to a speech by Artur Sało (ROORE, MSE Grűnland, Krosno, Poland), the Council of the Carpathian Euroregion agrees to the participation of NGO representatives in its environmental group. Each country of the "Carpathian Bridge" (Slovakia,Poland, Ukraine) may have one English-speaking representative.
* Eulália Polačková ("Pčola", Stará Lúbovňa/"Bee" is the North-Eastern Slovak Union for the Preservation of Nature) has announced the establishment of an environmental center for North-Eastern Slovakia. It appears to be a sister center to the similar one run in the Małopolska region (South-Eastern Poland). The third "bridge" country, Ukraine, is lacking such initiatives; however, the Euro Com Office for Western Ukraine, based in Tarnopol, could be incorporated into the idea and serve as a preliminary stage in the network development. (See the article "Our people in the Ukraine", Grasshopper, Spring '94, page 13.)
* On June 26, a special site meeting was held near the railway tunnel on the Slovak-Polish border (near Nowy Łupków). The Slovak party was represented by Mr. Dzurinda, Minister of Transport, and some officials from the National Railways. The head of the Krosno provincial administration and some officials from the Polish National Railways took part as representatives of the Polish side. The meeting was filmed by Slovak National TV.
* The agenda for the next International Carpathian Bridge Meeting (to take place in Ukraine) will include: